On-campus career fairs are a vital part of your career services department’s mission, even with a strong movement towards online engagement and inbound recruiting efforts. One major key to successful campus recruiting is preparation for career fairs but also facilitating interactions during the event and really great follow up after the event. When you follow through in detail after your career fair, you provide value to all of the participants.
After Your Career
Facilitate Connections Online
Once the one-time event is over, leverage the power of online tools to connect students and recruiters. Message students to understand if they were able to visit each company that aligned with their interests. If not, make introductions between students and recruiters based on an evaluation of your student’s qualifications and based on hiring trends you have seen in past years for your employers. You may direct students to continue their research and identify relevant companies through online profiles. To provide these recommendations, ensure that you have captured the necessary data points about your students and employers to facilitate the relevant connections outside of the career fair setting.
When it comes to helping students land jobs after a career fair, career services teams should be very effective in the advice given to help the students highlight their key strengths during the application and interview process. As advisors, personalized advice is key to gaining students’ attention and your ability to connect with them on a deeper level. The time following a career fair where students meet with 10, 20, or even 30 potential employers is when you must provide personalized advice on how to find the most relevant opportunity. Leverage insights from assessment tools that students have completed to provide your feedback on how students can deliver value to their preferred companies.
Ask for Feedback
Following your campus recruiting event, maintain contact with students and recruiters who attended. Reach out to students through contact information you obtained through the registration database. Send out a thank-you message to everyone who walked in the door, including volunteers, recruiters, sponsors, alumni and students. Following the thank-you note, offer a quick survey to ask for feedback. Reassure everyone that the survey should take less than five minutes. Have a few questions rating the career fair on a scale of one to five, and then leave a text box at the end of the survey for additional feedback. Compile this feedback into your database, and analyze what you can do to improve the event for next year.
Running a career fair is an evolving process. Once you receive feedback from the previous fair, take actionable steps to improve the next campus recruiting push. What worked well? What didn’t happen as expected? What ideas can you implement next time?
Career fairs traditionally happen during the fall, but a spring event may be more popular with students. A spring career fair gets students thinking about a job directly after graduation, as well as summer internships heading into their senior year. The timing of the career fair is a critical detail that can increase student attendance and engagement.
Planning out the steps of your career fair gives you an idea of what to expect and what to improve. When you put more effort into the process after, your career services department can produce better outcomes for students, faculty and recruiters who recognize the career fair as just one method for campus recruiting.